"We can do better" to move away from the death penalty

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Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The death penalty is an inhuman and outdated punishment according to a top UN Human Rights official.

Assistant Secretary-General Ivan Simonovic was on Wednesday at the UN Human Rights Council which held its high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty.

Currently, around 160 countries from all regions have either fully abolished the death penalty or do not practice it.

Mr. Simonovic said the world can do better than that.

Cathrine Hasselberg reports.

Justice systems can be improved without resorting to the death penalty.

That's what Assistant Secretary-General Ivan Simonovic told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In the last six months, the death penalty was abolished in Chad, Fiji and Madagascar.

In December of last year, a record number of countries supported a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

But despite this progress, Mr Simonic said challenges remain.

While we are seeing movement towards abolishing the death penalty in some countries, elsewhere, we are seeing moves towards its preservation, or even reintroduction. We need not kill immigrants, minorities, the poor and those with disabilities to show that we are committed to fight crime. Let us work together to improve efficiency of our justice system without resorting to the death penalty: an inhuman and outdated punishment.

The Assistant Secretary-General added that it has been empirically proven that the more people are informed on facts, the less they support the death penalty.

Cathrine Hasselberg, United Nations.

Duration: 1’04″

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